Diabetes in Men & 5 Associated Men’s Health Conditions

By 2030, the number of Singapore residents above 40 with diabetes is projected to increase by another 200,000 from about 400,000 today. 

The prevalence of diabetes among adults increased from 8.2% in 2004 to 11.3% in 2010. A higher proportion of men were diabetic (12.3%) compared with women (10.4%). We can imagine how the number would have increased even more by today.

For men living with type 2 diabetes, they are also at higher risk for certain conditions as compared to other men. In this article I will share more about unique mens health issues faced by men with type 2 diabetes.

1. Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

According to a study published in Journal of Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity: Targets and Therapy, men with diabetes are much more likely to experience Erectile Dysfunction than men who don’t have diabetes. High blood glucose causes damage to small blood vessels and/or  nerves like the ones that supply the penis. Hence poorly controlled diabetes contributes to Erectile Dsyfunction.

Other than sugar control, there are also some diabetic medicines that causes side effects like ED which adds on to the problem.

Other than diabetes, these men are usually also obese and suffering from hypertension, both of which also adds on to the risk for ED.

2. Urinary Tract Infection: 

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is usually caused by bacteria. It can affect any part of the urinary tract. Anywhere including the kidneys, bladder, ureters, urethra, and, in men, the prostate gland. Most of the time the infection is in the bladder. Women are 10 times more likely to get a UTI as compared to men. However men with diabetes are at a higher risk of getting UTIs than men without diabetes.

Why are men with diabetes more prone to UTIs? There are a few possible reasons. One, men with diabetes have poor circulation. This reduces the ability of white blood cells to travel in the body and fight off any kind of infection. Two, high glucose levels can also raise the risk of a UTI. Three, some men with diabetes have poor ability to empty their bladders. What happens is, urine stays in the bladder for too long and this becomes conducive for bacteria to grow.

3. Balanitis

Balanitis is an infection of the skin on the head (glans) of the penis. In uncircumcised men, this area is covered by the foreskin, or prepuce. Balanitis can occur in both circumcised and uncircumcised men, however, uncircumcised men are at higher risk for balanitis and also recurrent infections.  

Any man can develop balanitis, but the condition is most likely to occur in men who have phimosis (tight foreskin) or poor hygiene. Other than this group of men, men with diabetes are also at high risk of balanitis especially if they have poor sugar control. When sugar is poorly controlled, excess sugar may be exreted in the urine. This sugar rich urine when trapped underneath the foreskin, will provide a conducive environment for yeast and bacteria. On top of that, men with poorly controlled diabetes is also unable to fight of infections effectively. Read: What are the Causes of Balanitis

4. Posthitis

Posthitis is inflammation of the foreskin It is characterized by swelling or redness of the foreskin. In some cases, it may happen together with tears on the foreskin which may be quite painful. It is usually caused by an infection like fungus or bacteria. In some cases, it might be due to tears in the skin due to abrasion or friction during intercourse. The selling may lead to phimosis and tightness of the foreskin which makes it difficult for the skin to retract. 

Circumcision is usually a definite treatment for men who has recurrent balanitis posthitis or UTI. It is a very effective treatment to reduce the risk of UTIs, balanitis and also there won’t be anymore posthitis when the foreskin is removed.

5. Low Testosterone

 In the past few years, scientists have found some connection between low testosterone and diabetes. One study showed that in 2,100 men over age 45, the odds of having low testosterone were 2.1 times higher in men with diabetes. Low testosterone doesn’t cause diabetes but it might be the other way around. Men with diabetes might develop low testosterone. Read Andropause

A link between diabetes and low testosterone is well established. Men with diabetes are more likely to have low testosterone while men with low testosterone are more likely to develop diabetes as well. Testosterone improves the body’s ability to take up sugae in response to insulin. Men with low testosterone may have insulin resistance. In this condition, their body need to produce more insulin in order to reduce the same amount of sugar in the blood.

Read: Low Testosterne & Low Libido

All in All

So if you happen to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, do keep a look out for some of the issues mentioned above. If you happen to have any of the above conditions, do consider health screening as any of the condtions might be an indication of diabetes. Do consult your doctor if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and conditions.


Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) in Women

What is a Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)?

First, let’s talk about the urinary tract. The urinary tract begins with the kidneys, which are responsible for producing urine. Each kidney is connected to a tube called a ureter, which carries the urine from the kidney to the bladder. Urine is stored in the bladder before it is released through another tube (called the urethra) when we pee.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is when there is a bacterial infection affecting any of the above components mentioned, most commonly the bladder. This is called “cystitis”. In rarer but more serious cases, important structures like the kidneys may be affected as well.
Urinary tract infections tend to affect women much more than men, simply because women have a shorter urethra than men. UTIs in healthy men are uncommon because the length of their urethra protects against bacteria spreading upwards.

What are the Causes of a UTI in Women?

Certain risk factors for UTIs are specific to women:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Contraception (diaphragms and spermicide use)
  • Menopause

In women of all ages, common triggers include sexual intercourse (through the introduction of bacteria due to the mechanical nature of intercourse). Certain forms of contraception such as the use of diaphragms and spermicides may increase the risk of UTIs as well. In ladies who are post-menopausal, decreased levels of estrogen result in vaginal atrophy (thinning and dryness of the vaginal lining and walls) and stress incontinence, leading to an increased risk of UTIs as well.

Other risk factors are common to both males and females alike and include:

  • A weakened immune state – as may be seen in diabetes or with cancer, chemotherapy or people who are on long term immunosuppressive medications
  • Structural abnormalities in the urine tract (some people may be born with abnormalities in their urinary tract which place them at increased risk of frequent UTIs from early childhood onwards and throughout their life)
  • Kidney stones
  • Any factors which increase the risk of urine retention – this includes constipation in the elderly, certain medications, and in older men, an enlarged prostate gland
  • Foreign bodies like a urinary catheter

What are Symptoms of an UTI in Women?

Urinary tract infections can affect the urethra (urethritis), the bladder (cystitis), and the ureter and kidneys (pyelonephritis).
Common symptoms include:

  • Dysuria (a stinging or burning pain when passing urine)
  • Frequency and urgency (always feeling the urge to pee and going more often)
  • Hematuria (blood in the urine)
  • Foul smelling or cloudy urine
  • Suprapubic pain (pain over the lower part of your abdomen where your bladder is located)

Symptoms of a more serious infection affecting the kidneys and upper urine tract:

  • Flank pain (pain over the lower back region either on the left or right side corresponding to the kidney affected)
  • Fever and chills
  • Nausea, vomiting

It is best to see a doctor early, as soon as the symptoms of a UTI begin because if left untreated, there is a risk that what was initially simple cystitis or bladder infection may spread upwards to the kidney and turn into a serious and even potentially life-threatening infection that might leave permanent kidney damage.

How Will My Doctor Diagnose a UTI?

Diagnosis of a UTI begins with the history (symptoms and risk factors) you tell your doctor as well as a physical examination to see if there are any alarming red flags that suggest you have a more serious infection like pyelonephritis.
Your doctor may also ask you to provide a urine sample for a urine dipstick test in clinic – this is a simple and immediate test which can detect the presence of blood, white blood cells (infection-fighting cells which suggest ongoing inflammation), and nitrites (which are present when there is a bacterial infection) in your urine.
Another useful test that your doctor may order is a urine culture. This is when your urine sample is sent off to the lab to check for bacterial growth over the course of a few days. This is useful as it can tell your doctor which specific bacteria is responsible for your UTI, as well as what antibiotics the bacterium is susceptible to.
If you have recurrent urinary tract infections, you may benefit from additional imaging investigations, such as an ultrasound scan, to look at the structure of your urinary tract as well as look for any stones that may be triggering these infections.

How Is a UTI Treated?

Antibiotics are required to treat a UTI. Most simple cases of UTIs require only oral antibiotics, but if you have a more severe infection affecting the kidneys, you may end up having to go to hospital for intravenous antibiotics.
Medications (usually in the form of a powder that you dissolve in water and drink) that help alkalinise your urine will also be helpful in reducing your urinary discomfort while the antibiotics kick in.

What Can I Do To Reduce My Risk Of Getting a UTI?

Adequate hydration and passing urine regularly may help flush bacteria out and helps reduce your risk of kidney stones. Passing motion regularly also helps reduce the risk of urinary retention from constipation.
In women, emptying your bladder after sexual intercourse, as well as avoiding the use of diaphragms and spermicides may be helpful. Wiping from front to back after defecation also helps reduce the risk of introducing faecal bacteria.
Cranberry juice does contain a compound which inhibits bacteria from sticking to the walls of your bladder but there is no conclusive research that demonstrates cranberry juice reduces the risk of UTIs. Essentially, there is no harm in drinking cranberry juice, but it may not necessarily help as much as you hope it will.
UTIs are common and treatable! The most important thing is to see a doctor early for assessment and treatment and you’ll feel better in no time at all.
If you have any concern about UTI and wish to speak to our doctor, you may walk into any of our clinics or call us for an appointment or email us at
Take Care!

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